College football version of Big Ten/ACC Challenge on tap in Week 3

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Sep 20, 2014; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) carries the ball against the Miami Hurricanes in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Nebraska won 41-31. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska at Miami 

Despite the recent past, this game carries the most cache by far. The mere mention of the team names in the same breath conjures up images of Orange Bowls past:

  • Tom Osborne’s “go for 2” cost the Huskers the 1983 national title and handed it directly to Miami and the launch of a dynasty.
  • The ‘Canes dominance over Nebraska 22-0 and 23-3 in the 1990 and ’92 Orange Bowls to secure national titles.
  • The Huskers redemption in the ’95 Orange 24-17 to secure the first of back-to-back championships.
  • The U’s return to glory with a 2002 Rose Bowl romp over Nebraska 37-14 in the BCS Championship Game.

Nebraska won last year’s meeting 41-31. The Huskers ran Ameer Abdullah 35 times for 229 yards. Abdullah’s running was aided by four Miami turnovers which allowed Nebraska to stay in front and keep the offensive game plan on the ground. Tommy Armstrong only took to the air 13 times and ran for another 96 yards in the win.

That was Miami QB Brad Kaaya’s fourth career start. He threw for 359 yards, but also chucked two costly picks. 15 starts later, Kaaya knows the importance of protecting the football.

A record Memorial Stadium crowd showed up for the rivalry’s renewal last season. The intensity in the stands was also felt on the field. The 2014 game got ugly with several on field confrontations. Only players and coaches were permitted to shake hands at the conclusion. Don’t be surprised if there is some carry over to South Beach.

Most of Nebraska’s playmakers from that game are gone. Kaaya’s development as a passer and decision-maker are more evident than Armstrong’s. The ‘Canes say they have fixed the defensive issues that persisted in giving up 292 yards and 20 first half points vs Florida Atlantic. The U pitched a second half shutout in winning 44-20. Miami’s roster is loaded with more talent than any in the ACC outside of Florida State and Clemson. Al Golden has to win an important game at some point, you would think.

Line: Miami by 3.5

‘Canes win the rematch 30-24.